Sean Pendergast

Four Thoughts on Robert Brazile Being Named to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Robert Brazile finally got the long awaited call to Canton.
Robert Brazile finally got the long awaited call to Canton. Screen grab from YouTube
One of the very best parts of the week leading up to the Super Bowl is the unveiling of the Pro Football Hall of Fame class for that calendar year. Say what you will about all of the dark clouds swirling around the NFL at the moment — anthem protests, TV ratings dipping, concussions — but thanks to its NFL Films division, no sport does nostalgia better than pro football. The Hall of Fame presentation reminds us of that.

This past week's Hall of Fame class introduction was an even bigger thrill than normal for Houstonians, as finally, after years and years of waiting, Robert Brazile, the prototype edge rusher of his time, the erstwhile "Dr.Doom," was selected for enshrinement, thanks to a nomination by the veteran's committee and rubber stamp approval by the Hall of Fame selection committee.

I have a few thoughts on Brazile's induction, as we relive the weekend and, briefly, the career of one of the all-time great linebackers and gentlemen in football history...

4. Social media can be awesome
Through the years, the extent of announcing a Hall of Fame class was a press release and then some highlight packages on SportsCenter. Now, thanks to Twitter and the ability to shoot video on one's phone, we can see what the exact moment looks like when Robert Brazile is informed by Hall of Fame president David Baker that his long wait is over...

 If the room didn't get a little bit dusty while you watched that video, then you, my friend, have no soul!

3. What the hell took so long?
Brazile was a transcendent player throughout the late '70s and early '80s, deemed "Lawrence Taylor before Lawrence Taylor" by teammates and coaches. Even Taylor himself said that without Dr. Doom there might not be an "L.T.", as Brazile's athleticism and sheer brute force allowed Bum Phillips to move to a 3-4 defense to take advantage of those attributes. Brazile was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1975, and was named first-team All-Pro five times. The only player in this year's Hall of Fame class named to more first-team All-Pro berths is Ray Lewis. His resume alone makes you wonder why Brazile wasn't named to the Hall much, much sooner, but his highlight video makes his exclusion for so many years seem absurd...

2. Luv Ya Blue
Brazile's induction gives the Luv Ya Blue Oilers four Hall of Famers, as Dr. Doom joins Curley Culp, Elvin Bethea and Earl Campbell in Canton. The news of Brazile's induction, along with the invoking of Culp's name, allows us to relive one of the most lopsided trades in the history of team sports, as the Oilers traded defensive end John Matuszak to Kansas City for Culp and the first round pick that would become Brazile. Matuszak for two Hall of Famers — yes, lopsided.

1. Oilers' history in... Nashville?
Brazile's induction also reminds us that, for some reason, the history of the Oilers' franchise now resides in Nashville.

Look, I KNOW the reason why that is — when Bud Adams moved the team, he moved EVERYTHING, including the history of the team, which is why icons like Earl Campbell are immortalized on the facade of the stadium in a city in which they never played. I wish there were some accommodation that the Titans and Texans could come to in order to bring the history of the Oilers back to Houston as an adjunct to the Texans and not the Titans, the way that the Browns were able to retain their history after Art Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore.  There is a generation of old Oiler players who are essentially NFL-homeless, and likely missing out on some earning opportunities because their legacies are in a city where they mean zilch. Right now, nobody benefits from the Oilers' history being tied to the Titans. Nobody.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast